In 2014, I launched The Happiness Perspective series. There have been three segments so far and today I am bringing you the fourth one. I felt stress relief was a good topic to tackle because, well, it’s pretty damn fitting in my life right now. It seems to be the case for many bloggers right now. What’s up with that February?
My to-do list is already long and every time I add another bullet point I feel my stress rate increasing. There never seems to be enough time right now for all the tasks I have to accomplish. (Which includes responding to all your lovely comments!) Here’s to hoping that writing this post will inspire me again to focus on stress relief before it gets the best of me.
It’s a no brainer that stress has negative effects on the body and mind. The older you get the more likely stress can lead to serious problems such as heart disease. I think many of us like to trick ourselves into believing that it’s not that big of a deal because it’s normal. We also don’t often think about how stress can easily effect our happiness levels. Plenty of studies have proven the correlation between high stress levels with a lower likelihood of a person feeling happy.
We live in an age where stress is at an all time high. It’s common place. Everyday there seems to be something new that just piles onto our already burdened stress levels.
Lucky enough for us there’s plenty of easy options to relieve some of that pesky stress from our lives. Even 5 short minutes a day can do wonders!
Stress is going to happen in life from time to time, that’s inevitable. However, there are ways to avoid stress so you may not experience quite as much.
- Disconnect can work in your favor. Work is an example of a place where stress is likely. Unfortunately that stress often leeches into other aspects of our lives when it doesn’t have to. Learning to compartmentalize the areas of your life allows you to sometimes leave the stress when it’s high in one area of life and not have it effect every minute of every day.
- Learn to say no. A huge reason we feel stressed is because we stretch ourselves too thin and end up in situations we didn’t want from the start. You don’t have to agree to everything that comes your way. It’s better for you and actually, it’s better for others if you’re up front from the start.
- Plan to avoid stress situations. There are many things in our daily lives where we wind up stressed because of something outside of our reach, but there are times when we can not end up in these positions. Say for example leaving your house 10 minutes earlier as to avoid traffic on the way to a big meeting – assuring you’ll have more than enough time instead of biting your nails raw with worry.
- Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Look at your life and decide what is most important and must be tackled right away. Create a list and rank in priority. Streamlining what is the top task and to be done first instead of a massive pile of things to do makes it all seem a bit more manageable.
Sometimes stress just sneaks up on us. Instead of letting it overcome our lives, there are ways to combat it.
- Adopt a mantra. I like to often tell myself some variation of “I got this shit” when my life seems to be a mess. Sometimes it can be as easy as making yourself get into the proper headspace and believe something to help.
- Take a step back. Allowing yourself a small breather let’s you refocus and see things in a different light.
- Watch your caffeine consumption. It’s delicious, but it can increase your stress hormones when on edge if you overdo it.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Finding something to laugh at every day – even in the worst times, lightens the load on your shoulders and will instantly perk you up.
- Find a state of calm. This can take on many variations depending on preference. Yoga, running, meditation – you name it. Learning to breathe deep and shut off your brain is a form of instant peace. To me, this is one of the most helpful things I have learned. There’s a reason why so many doctors recommend it. It gets you out of your own head.
- Shut off the news. It’s good to stay updated, but the constant barrage of terrifying and sad events happening in the world eats away at you after a while. Even better, indulge in a few viral videos for all the warm fuzzies the news doesn’t normally give you.
- Sunshine is your friend. Even getting outside for a few minutes during lunch time can work wonders on your mood and helps you avoid things like Seasonal Affect Disorder.
- Put together a relaxing playlist. Listen to it whenever you feel yourself really stressed out as music can be incredibly soothing. (Stay tuned for my calm playlist in a future post!)
- Eat healthy. It seems so easy to reach for the comfort foods when we’re stressed out, but often those foods aren’t healthy for us. I’m all for treating yourself to your faves from time to time, but when you feel stressed out and reach for the heavy, sugary foods it can often lead to you feeling worse.
- Learn to breathe deeply. This simple exercise is a massive relaxer. I particularly am fond of the free Calm app. It teaches you all the correct postures and breathe techniques and allows you to set the time with a soothing background noise.
- Get those endorphins flowing! Again, this is a do it yourself-er. However you may choose get your blood moving in your body. All those endorphins battle stress and keep your cortisol levels down.
- Keeping a daily gratitude log. Remembering the small things that you are thankful for in life can brighten your attitude when you are stressed out.
- Getting a massage has been proven to help release brain chemicals that stimulate relaxation. It also helps remove all the stress you can hold in your body and even having less pressure on your back muscles can make you instantly feel less stressed out.
- Don’t avoid the issues in your life. The longer you put them off the more they usually stress you out.
- As our friends from Park and Rec taught us, Treat Yo Self. However that may be, it’s good to indulge every once and a while.
What are your stress relief go-to solutions?
Catch up on The Happiness Perspective that you may have missed!
P.S. – Stressing about what to do in life? Author John Green has helpful life advice no matter your age.
Until next time,